Geared for business innovation

by Nicolette Wong

HKUST ISM - Information systems management programme for businesses
Theodore Clark, associate professor, department of information systems
business statistics and operations management, School of Business and Management, HKUST

Master's degree prepares leaders to manage company systems

With effective information systems management driving businesses in many sectors, it is vital for entrepreneurs, company executives and other corporate leaders to have a solid understanding of this discipline.

The part-time Master of Science (MSc) degree in information systems management (MScISM), offered since 1997 by The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) School of Business and Management, aims to equip business executives to improve their organisations' productivity and profits, and to help IT professionals advance to managerial level.

The programme responds to an increasing reliance on information systems management, since companies always look for more reliable and cost-effective systems as they expand, says Theodore Clark, associate professor, department of information systems, business statistics and operations management, School of Business and Management, HKUST.

"Effective communication between a firm's technical team, finance and marketing departments and clients or users is key," Professor Clark stresses. "We train people to be well versed in the languages of technology and business, as such candidates can be hard to come by."

The master's programme covers technical components, such as information systems security, as well as business topics, including project and operations management. While acquiring a solid foundation in the field, students also gain a broader understanding of the relevance of IT to companies, strategic management of information systems, and implementation of financial and marketing aspects of IT-related projects, he points out.

Strong knowledge base

The interdisciplinary design of the curriculum ensures that students without technical backgrounds are able to learn essential technical principles at an introductory level. The university targets candidates that have already achieved some career success, as well as talented youngsters with excellent academic credentials and leadership potential, Professor Clark notes. A genuine interest in technology and effective communication skills are also crucial.

Although information systems are developing at a rapid pace in the world of commerce, the course focuses on core principles that remain relevant, and particularly on the application of technology in different business settings.

"We ensure that our programme covers the latest developments and topics, such as social media and intellectual property. But our main focus is to ensure that our students make the best management decisions by applying their knowledge," says Professor Clark.

Shared learning is an important part of the programme. Students engage in extensive discussions during seminars and workshops, and also participate in group projects outside the classroom. They also regularly attend lunches addressed by leading industry practitioners sharing their insights and IT-management experience.

Professor Clark believes that such interactions are crucial to the success of the programme in the long run. "We hope to see most of our students end up in top management positions, where they can truly make information systems work for their companies. This, in turn, will impact on business management in Hong Kong," he concludes.

Leaders for the future

  • MSc programme equips executives to improve their organisations' productivity and profits
  • Programme covers technical components, as well as business topics
  • University targets successful business people, as well as young academic achievers
  • Students equipped to make best management decisions by applying their knowledge

Taken from Career Times 13 January 2012, A4

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